Restructuring Facilitates Access to Georgia Tech for Technology Commercialization, Industrial Research & New Venture Formation

The activities will be part of the Office of Economic Development and Technology Ventures (EDTV), led by Vice Provost Wayne Hodges.

"Bringing these activities together will enhance the ability of Georgia Tech and its faculty to partner with industry, move new technologies into the marketplace, form new ventures from research innovations and help advance Georgia's economy. I'm pleased to have Wayne Hodges leading this important effort," said Jean-Lou Chameau, Georgia Tech's provost.

For more than a decade, Georgia Tech has been ranked among the top five U.S. universities for the volume of industrially-sponsored research, and during 2002 the Institute's technology licensing program received a record 40 patents. Georgia Tech's technology incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center, is considered the premier university-based program of its kind in the world. And a recent Southern Growth Policies Board study ranked Georgia Tech as the top U.S. university for supporting economic development.

To maintain that leadership, Georgia Tech must continue making improvements, noted Charles Liotta, vice-provost for research and dean of graduate studies.

"We want to define the research university of the 21st century," Liotta said. "A university today must interact with the society in which it exists to transfer research results for the betterment of society. This new structure will facilitate doing that."

The new organization will also provide new opportunities for faculty and students to work with the business community, Hodges said.

"By bringing together formerly separate units, the new organization will provide a clear pathway for faculty and students who wish to commercialize technology they have developed - while providing easy access to Georgia Tech for industrial clients and others in the business community," he explained. "There will be no divisions between the organizations involved."

For Georgia Tech researchers, the consolidation will mean a more seamless integration of the technology evaluation, patenting, marketing and licensing process, said Jilda Garton, general manager of the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), which holds Georgia Tech's intellectual property. "Through its interaction with industry, the new organization will more effectively bring together research ideas that are developed in Georgia Tech labs and the research ideas that interest industry," she said.

The restructuring had been recommended by outside organizations, including the Washington Advisory Group, which studied Georgia Tech's commercialization activities last year. While the group praised the Institute's accomplishments, it recommended bringing units with complementary missions together to improve communication and collaboration.

Hodges, who served as associate vice-president before the restructuring, has more than 30 years of economic development experience. He was part of the team that founded the Advanced Technology Development Center -- Georgia Tech's technology incubator - and in 1993 consolidated Georgia Tech's economic development resources into the Economic Development Institute (EDI). He has also served as deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

To facilitate collaboration with EDTV in evaluating and marketing technology, George Harker - who directs the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) - will take on additional responsibilities as assistant vice-provost for technology commercialization in Hodges' organization. He will work with the staff of EDTV's VentureLab to evaluate and market technology developed in Georgia Tech's $300 million-per-year research program.